Elder abuse takes many forms in a nursing home environment. While you might immediately think about staff members who physically abuse or neglect elderly patients, there are unfortunately several other types of abuse that can occur. Financial abuse is one example. If you have an elderly family member in a care facility, and especially if he or she is experiencing diminished cognitive abilities, you need to be careful to ensure that no financial abuse is taking place. Here are some ways that an unscrupulous nursing home staff member may target your loved one financially.
Making Up Fictitious Bills
A simple way that a nursing home employee can target a resident of the home for financial abuse, constituting elderly abuse, is to coerce the resident into paying a fictitious bill. For example, the employee may visit the resident's room and state that there was a mistake with the resident's rent for the month, and that he or she owes another $100. The staff member could stress that for accounting reasons, it would be easier if the resident could just pay this fee in cash, and state that he or she will clear things up with the billing department. A resident could hand over this money without scrutinizing it.
Sharing A Sob Story
Another type of financial-related elder abuse that can occur in this environment is when a staff member makes up a fictitious sob story in an attempt to have a resident hand over some money. For example, the staff member may say how his or her car broke down he or she lacks the money to fix it. Now, he or she might say, it's necessary to take a long and uncomfortable bus ride to and from work. If your family member has a generous side, he or she might write the staff member a check right away.
Invitation To "Financial Opportunities"
Another financial-related incident of abuse that a nursing home staff member can use to target a resident is to invite him or her to a big "financial opportunity." It could be something such as a pyramid scheme, but it could also be straight theft. For example, the staff member could tell the resident that there's a big investment opportunity coming up, and that if the resident handed over a sum of money, the staff member may be able to double it. Unfortunately, the staff member will later report, there were extenuating circumstances that prevented the money from doubling. If you suspect that your family member has fallen victim to any of these abusive tactics, you should hire a nursing home abuse attorney.